July 2nd, 2021

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A Note from Pastor Lou -- Truly #61 -- What Must I Do?

What Must I Do?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 7.01.2021  

             

Truly I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 19:23

           This statement of Jesus is found in Matthew, telling of the story of the "rich young man."  This narrative is also found in chapter 10 of Mark's gospel and chapter 18 of Luke's gospel.  The incident must have made a large impression on the disciples, and indeed continues to make an impression on all of us who read or hear it.  Unfortunately, often times an unwarranted conclusion is drawn from this text that rich people are less likely to be in heaven.  A closer reading of the text reveals this conclusion to be largely incorrect.

           The rich young man kneels before Jesus and asks a very key question, "Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?"  The problem exists right there at the start:  the rich young man clearly believes eternal life depends on him doing something to earn it.  Here he is, speaking to the One who takes away sin so all of us can have eternal life as a gift -- a grace from God -- and he asks what he can do to earn it.  Throughout the gospels Jesus consistently destroys this type of thinking.  We are dead in trespass and sin.  All people are.  Dead men can do nothing.   Rich young man, all rich people, all poor people, everyone needs to come to this realization.  We have sinned and fallen short of the perfection God requires for eternal life.  Jesus tells the rich young man, "If you would be perfect, go sell all you have and give it to the poor..."   Only someone incredibly blessed by God could come to the conclusion that he or she may be close to the perfection demanded by God.  A poor person, one who has suffered, one who has been abused, one seeking revenge or holding a grudge -- in other words, most of us -- would never even consider we are close to salvation on our own.  So Jesus says only with great difficulty can a rich person, a person already greatly blessed by God, attain eternal life, because eternal life has nothing to do with temporal blessings.  Jesus goes so far as to say "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." 

           The disciples are flabbergasted by this, responding "Who then can be saved?"   At this time, even they believe there must be something special about the ones following Jesus, that they are doing that one thing necessary to earn salvation.  They are purely flummoxed that those who seem to have the inside track in the earthly realm are not necessarily on their sure way to heaven, and indeed may find it more difficult to get there.  "Who then can be saved?" is the cry of all who see the road to salvation in good works.   Jesus completely slams this door in our faces.

           We do not get to heaven by being good or even by giving away all we have.  We get to heaven because Jesus is the lamb of God who has taken away the sin of the world!  Yes, even prostitutes and tax collectors who believe in this Way will enter heaven before any who trust in their good deeds, or even any who would give away all that they have.

           God makes no distinction.  As Paul says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) ,  and "for God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all" (Romans 11:32). It is indeed impossible for man -- even a young rich one -- to save himself, but all things are possible with God.

           So let go of all that hinders.  Whether it be wealth or the lack thereof;  health or the lack thereof;  good deeds or the lack thereof;  prayers or the lack thereof;  tithes or the lack thereof;  pious meditation or the lack thereof;  any and everything or the lack thereof;  simply trust, believe, take it on faith, that Jesus has covered all your sin.  When God looks at you, He sees His Son, Jesus. That is the blood-dipped robe we all wear (Revelation 7:14 ).   With Him all things are possible, even saving an old sinner like you or me.

           Remember Whose you are,

               Pastor Lou

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Readings, Announcements for July 4, 2021

Greetings from Living Word Lutheran Church
Sunday Service each week at 9:00 AM, 2609 West Broadway,  and on Facebook LIVE



Pentecost +6

July 4, 2021
First Reading: Ezekiel 2:1-5
Psalm: Psalm 123
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Gospel Lesson: Mark 6:1-13
           
THIS WEEK at a GLANCE:
Sunday July 4 Service of the Word --   9:00 AM,  in person and on Facebook Live;
      followed by Service of the Sacrament* with the Lord's Supper;
(Communion is not part of the FB Live broadcast -- please contact Pastor Lou if you are not attending in person and would like to have communion.)
Wednesday July 7 Confirmation class -- 6:00 - 7:00 PM   (date change)

> Keeping these in our Prayers:
For the healing of our country and all citizens during these times of unease, disease, and unrest;
For those those who are fighting or recovering from infection by the COVID virus; healthcare workers;
    Karen (Grethe's daughter), benign tumor between skull & brain, but causing some issues;  surgery scheduled;
Baby Zane & mom Lily (Sharon's neice); that he will thrive and grow better than he has been of late;
the Neust-l & Downs families saying final goodbyes; services for Judene's sister, Angie next Saturday (7/10);

Michael (a man who called asking for prayer), no family, lost his mother recently and feeling "spiritually lost;"
Virgil R., (block 89 neighbor farmer), recovering from injuries from in car vs hay stacker accident;
Vicki G., (ILC friend, community member), at Columbia Crest; that her spirits be raised;
Don H., that continued intermittent health issues from 2020 can finally be resolved;
Carlos S. (missionary Danelle's husband), feeling well in spite of heart function at 14% after massive heart attack in March;

Juanita O., (ILC friend), healing a severely broken leg in long-term care; and Harley at home;
Jennifer, (Charlene's daughter), eye pressure issues;
Jake, (Charlene's grandson), heart rhythm issues have returned, repeat surgery or even transplant may be needed;
Those who may be struggling with depression or loneliness during this extended isolation;

> Friends and Family battling Cancer:  
Kaitlin (Dawn V. granddaughter), that thyroid cancer surgery follow-ups wipe it out;
Carol (Mike L. daughter-in-law)
Sharon K., (Pastor Hesse's second cousin), recently diagnosed with stage IV esophageal cancer;
Grant C., (Kelli's friend's son, age 6), chemotherapy week 5 -- embryonal rhabdomysarcoma;
Elijah T, age 5, (nephew of Malea), recently diagnosed with leukemia; chemotherapy has begun;
Wayne R., (friend of the Bensons, businessman & former ML mayor);
Jackie L. (wife of Stan's friend Mark --Basin Propane), needing a miracle after stage 4 liver cancer diagnosis;
Emma, (14 yr old daughter of Norm's friend Bob Tatum);
Carol G., (friend of Ila and Charlene), multiple myeloma; Emily, (friend of Kelli), brain cancer, frontal lobe;
Aliyah  (Ila's 3-yr old niece) and Bill, (brother of John Schafer), both withy glioblastoma brain cancer.   

> Those who mourn the loss of loved ones;
    especially the Neustels, Robillards, LeMasters, Hesses, Blazers, Tuckers, Neustels, & Ellestads;
>Friends and family members who struggle with addictions of various kinds,
>Active military & law enforcement, & fire fighters & their families: for safety and peace in the line of duty:
    especially  (military)  Jonathan P,  Olaf M,  Brady E,   Jordan M,  Luke S,  Logan H,
     and (law enforcement)  Justin E, Scott N, Jeff W, David H;  Riley C.
>Expectant mothers (and fathers!) -- and for those who would like to be;
  especially Lars & Alyssa O; Chris & Jen H.; Kyle & Heather R;  Alec & Emily R.; Kari & Kevin K.;
>Engaged couples preparing for marriage, especially
Josh & Amanda; Darby & Talen; Glen & Erika; Gaige & Danielle;
> Thanks, Blessings, and Praises
-- Happy Birthday this week to Phyllis H. (7/3); Paul Emers-n (7/7);
      -- Happy Anniversary to Wayne & Arlene (7/9) # 72!; Ben & Kelli (7/9);  Larry & Sue E. (7/10);
          Happy 11th anniversary of Ordination to Pastor Hesse, (7/10);

      -- Congratulations to Ben & Lauren Rathbone, married on June 26!
     --  Congratuations to Dylan O. for completing 6 weeks of ROTC camp;
     --  New granddaughter (#3)  for Don & Triscia -- Elizabeth Faith, born June 30 to David & Sarah;

>
Continued Prayers for:
   Joe Morr-ss (eye issues) -- Evie at home;  Gordon at Brookdale/Hearthstone;  Brenna;  Danelle & Carlos;  Julie Reyn-lds (Laurie O. sister, breast cancer) --  Danette, Kyle E.,  Loren, Josh -- Rev. Steve My-rs (in Spokane).


ICE CREAM SUNDAY !
How about a little Independence Day celebration?  Cool down with some Ice Cream this Sunday after the service.

Pandemic Progress
Covid attendance limits, distancing, and public mask requirements have been lifted by the County and State officials.  We encourage everyone to return to in-person Sunday attendance as soon as you are able, and we continue to encourage common-sense measures to keep everyone healthy -- including wearing a mask if that makes you more comfortable.  The air conditioner is working to keep us as cool as we can be!

Seeking Auction Donations
Moses Lake Grocery Outlet is wroking on the annual Independence from Hunger Food Drive. The online auction is live now and will end at noon on July 6th. 100% of all money raised will be donated to their Independence for Hunger Community Partner Care Sacks. All donations stay local to help provide sack lunches to those experiencing food insecurities. The goal this year is to raise $10,000. That is a HUGE goal and cannot be done without the support of our community. "Thank you in advance." (--from Kris E., ML Grocery Outlet) Update: Nearly 1/2 way to the goal! Donate $5 in the store and receive a $5.00 coupon -- win-win!

Seeking Rodeo Anthem Singers
Contact Mike Harris if you or someone you know would be interested/willing to sing the National Anthem for one evening of the 2021 Grant County Rodeo.  I believe he said there are 5 opportunities.  Need not be a professional or perfect singer but ability to carry a tune helps :)


Agnus Day. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "Agnus Day appears with the permission of  www. agnusday. org"

Attendance last Sunday; June 27, 2021:  36